The wait is finally over as Static-X’s first record since 2009’s Cult of Static has arrived with Project Regeneration Vol 1. Arguably one of the most anticipated albums of 2020, which has many fans wondering how this full-length effort would unfold with hearing previously unreleased recordings of the late Wayne Static’s vocals. Before the band’s reunion, we assumed Static-X would be no longer following Wayne’s untimely death in 2014. While this marks the band’s overall seventh full-length album, it captures the essence of their initial formation with sounds from 1999’s Wisconsin Death Trip and 2001’s Machine. The reunited lineup consists of original members bassist Tony Campos, guitarist Koichi Fukuda, and drummer Ken Jay along with the mysterious new singer known as Xer0. The anticipation for this record started over a year ago when the group went on tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album. Initially slated for a May release, the album was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the first of two volumes finally arrived on July 10th.
Those who ordered the CD would be quite pleased with the booklet as it remains the Static-X aesthetic, along with a heartfelt dedication to the late Wayne Static. Despite the band’s ups and downs, and whether fans may assume this is a cash grab, it is ultimately an album wholly devoted to Wayne. Xer0 who also produced the record penned the following note in the album cover:
“Wayne was my old friend. I am not attempting to replace him. I am here to help finish the work that he left behind and to help keep the spirit of Static-X alive, so that we can all continue to enjoy the incredible music that they made together for years to come. I wear a mask because I am not the face of Static-X. I will continue to wear a mask in order to keep the focus where it belongs.”
Musically, the album picks up where the first two records left off, which makes us wonder precisely when Wayne recorded these vocals. It’s well polished as we hear not only Wayne’s vocals but Xer0’s as well, and Ministry’s Al Jourgensen is heard on the closing track, “Dead Souls.” Those who listened to Static-X over twenty years ago will feel like a blast from the past, being reminded of those nostalgic memories of where you were when you first heard these industrial metallers.
However, there are many layers to what this album is: nostalgic, honoring Wayne, chaotic, dark, depressing, aggressive, and heavy. It’s consistent from beginning to end that does exactly what the band intended: maintain Wayne’s spirit. While we may not hear songs like “Get to the Gone,” “This Is Not,” “Cold,” “Push It” and “I’m With Stupid,” if you listen long enough, there are glimpses and reminders of all of these tracks put into one. In essence: it can appear as a b-side to these albums but enhanced with what it would sound like twenty years later along with something new. And yes, it’s all three combined.
Project Regeneration Vol 1 is consistently experimental and haunting, and you won’t know where Wayne’s voice begins, and Xer0’s ends. Highlighted tracks include “Worth Dyin’ For,” “Terminator Oscillator,” “All These Years,” “Bring You Down,” “My Destruction,” “Something Of My Own,” and “Dead Souls.”